How to Preserve Wooden Furniture
What would life be like without wooden furniture? It’s probably hard to imagine parting with the wood armoire that belonged to your grandmother or working anywhere other than at your sturdy oak desk. If you take good care of your furniture, you won’t ever have to let it go. You can expect your treasured pieces to serve you for generations.
In this post, we’ll show you how to protect wooden furniture from damage. We’ll also show you how to make furniture last longer with simple, practical tips. If you care for your wood furniture and treat it well, you’ll enjoy its natural beauty and durability for many years.
Longest-Lasting Wood for Furniture
Before we jump into furniture preservation, let’s look at the different types of wood. Choosing durable wood for your furniture helps ensure it will withstand years of wear and tear.
If you choose solid wood furniture, you’re already on your way to quality and durability. Solid wood furniture can last a lifetime and is easy to refinish and repair. Some of the sturdiest wood furniture consists of hardwoods such as oak, walnut and maple. These woods are not only dense and durable, but also beautiful. Here are long-lasting commonly used woods.
- Oak: Oak is a popular wood used to craft fine, durable pieces. People who own this dense, enduring hardwood treasure it for its resistance to stains and scratches. Skillfully constructed oak furniture can last over a century.
- Cherry: Cherry wood is strong and resists warping. Its appealing rosy-brown undertones grow richer as the furniture ages.
- Walnut: Walnut is a resilient wood that takes carving well. It can hold its shape for many years, making it an ideal material for ornate furniture. Walnut comes in a range of colors, from light to deep brown.
- Maple: Maple is tough and excellent at absorbing shock. When used in furniture, maple is easy to clean and gleams with polish.
How to Make Wood Furniture Last
Even though high-quality wooden furniture is naturally durable, you still need to maintain pieces to keep them looking like new for a long time. Wood furniture preservation doesn’t have to be time-consuming, and mainly involves careful cleaning. Use the following tips to care for your wood furniture pieces and give them the attention they deserve.
Dust is abrasive. Therefore, you need to remove it properly to avoid scratching the surface of wood furniture. A soft, clean, lint-free cloth or feather duster works best for removing dust. To keep dust out of the air, slightly dampen a cloth before wiping furniture clean. Aim to dust frequently, or at least every few days, to keep dust buildup to a minimum.
After time and use, dirt can accumulate on wooden furniture. Some residue requires deeper cleaning than dusting alone.
You can accomplish most cleaning with a soft cloth dampened with warm, soapy water. Make sure the rag you use is only slightly wet, because you don’t want to saturate the wood with water. After you clean the furniture with the moistened cloth, use a second clean, damp cloth to wipe away any soapy residue. Dry the furniture immediately with a clean towel.
If your furniture needs a stronger solution, you can use a quality abrasive-free cleaner designed for wood furniture. Avoid using polishes and ammonia-based cleaners. It’s essential to choose the right product. Otherwise, the wrong cleaning product can create buildup or scratch the surface. You’ll always want to start with the gentlest cleaner first and move to stronger methods when needed.
Protect your wooden furniture from stains and heat damage by keeping it covered. Place cloth tablecloths or placemats on frequently used tables, and always have a supply of coasters nearby. Avoid using plastic cups and placemats on wooden furniture, which can stain the surface over time.
Also, make sure to handle your furniture carefully if you decide to move pieces. Before moving a piece of furniture, remove any items that might get in the way and cause damage. Wrap furniture in a blanket before the move and know exactly where it needs to go. Never move your furniture in a hurry or drag it across the floor. Ask someone to help you, or use a dolly for heavy pieces.
Lastly, use furniture as intended, and encourage your guests to do the same. Don’t use the coffee table as a chair, or vice versa. You’ll enjoy your pieces much longer if you treat them with care.
Most wood furniture damage is easy to fix. Make sure you use the correct materials to make repairs so you can preserve the finish. For example, you can repair a small scratch by applying a paste wax made especially for wood furniture, or by filling it in with a touch-up marker. Use pumice to sand down an area containing multiple small scratches. By repairing dents and scratches, you’ll keep your pieces looking new and help prevent further surface damage.
If you can no longer buff your furniture to a shine, it may be time to apply wax. An occasional waxing can help protect varnished wood furniture from dust, dirt and moisture. Paste wax is a semi-solid wood furniture preserver. It creates a protective shell over a piece of furniture’s original finish. Paste wax is an excellent choice for antique furniture preservation.
Use paste wax made specifically for furniture. You can also create DIY paste wax by mixing melted beeswax with paraffin and slowly adding oil. Using a clean, soft cloth, rub the wax into the wood. Let it dry for about 30 minutes, then buff the area with a second clean cloth in the direction of the grain. To avoid buildup, don’t apply paste wax more than once a year.
Control the Environment
One of the most crucial aspects of wood furniture preservation is protecting your pieces from light, heat, humidity and insects. It may not be possible to create a perfect environment, but you can control specific factors that will help prevent damage. Pay special attention to the following elements.
- Light: Light can cause discoloration. You can easily reduce the effects of light damage by keeping furniture out of direct sunlight. You can also reduce sun exposure by using shades and curtains. Try to keep furniture in the dark when a room is not in use.
- Humidity: Wood swells and shrinks as humidity levels rise and fall. Too many swings in humidity can eventually distort wood. Try to keep rooms containing wooden furniture stable by using a dehumidifier in the summer and a humidifier in the winter.
- Insects: Insects such as ants, termites and bees can destroy wooden furniture quickly. If you find wood dust or insect droppings under furniture, take action immediately to address an infestation. Remove the piece of furniture from the area and quarantine it in a separate space.
- Heat: Avoid placing furniture near heat sources, such as in front of vents or fireplaces. Heat can leave marks on furniture and damage the wood.
Stain and Refinish
Some of your furniture may have seen a lot of wear and tear over the years. If a piece of furniture has large, deep scratches or dents, you can still repair it and bring it back to life. Here are signs it’s time to refinish a piece of furniture:
- The surface still feels sticky and looks worn even after cleaning
- The existing finish is cracked, flaking or chipping
- There are rings and water marks under the finish
To refinish an old piece of wood furniture and preserve it for many more years to come, take these steps.
- Clean: First, you’ll need to clean the piece to wash away dirt buildup. Use dish soap and warm water, and dry the piece afterward.
- Remove old finish: Strip the old finish either by using sandpaper or a chemical stripping product made for wood.
- Apply sealant: After stripping the old furniture of the original finish and allowing it to dry, apply a sealant to protect the wood and add a smooth base layer for the stain.
- Stain or paint: Once the sealant has dried, you can either stain or paint the wood depending on the color and look you want.
- Add new finish: The final step is to apply a finish coat, such as a varnish.
Shop Solid Wood Furniture Today
Solid wood furniture is gorgeous, durable and adds warmth to a room. If you maintain your furniture properly, it can stay in your family for generations, and offer the same functionality and beauty to those you cherish.
At AmishOutletStore.com, we proudly offer handcrafted, high-quality solid wood furniture. We build all our skillfully crafted pieces, from bedroom sets to office bookcases, to beautify your home for many years. To shop for attractive, functional wood furniture, browse our online store today!